European Enlargement Policy
European Enlargement Policy
The European Union has grown from six members in 1951 to 28 in 2013, with a dramatic enlargement in 2004 that not only greatly increased the EU member states in number but marked a historic change in Central and Eastern Europe. The EU requires that all countries wishing to join comply with the EU’s standards and rules (the acquis communautaire); gain the consent of the EU institutions and member states and have the consent of their citizens.
One aspect of the acquis is foreign policy, including development cooperation. As part of the reforms required to comply with European standards, EU accession countries must develop their own policies and structures in this area, supported by the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).
Read about the development CSOs' activities around the 10 year anniversary since the big EU enlargement in 2004 here.
EU Enlargement Package
Each year European Commission issues an “Enlargement package” with Strategy papers and Progress reports for the EU candidate and potential candidate countries. Find the most recent package here. According to the most recent progress reports for the EU candidate countries in the Western Balkans in 2013 and 2014, there were no developments in the areas of development policy and humanitarian aid in Serbia. In Montenegro, according to the 2013 report a new director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been appointed to set up relevant administrative structures and collect information on development activities and humanitarian aid. The 2014 report acknowledges that fully operational administrative structures still need to be set up in Montenegro and that the humanitarian contributions are still decided on a case-by-case basis without a legislative framework. In FYR Macedonia, preparations in the areas of development policy and humanitarian aid are at an early stage. The 2014 progress report of Albania – the country that gained the EU candidate country status in June 2013 – does not mention development policy and humanitarian aid under chapter 30 which covers external relations.
TRIALOG started supporting civil society organisations active in development cooperation and their organisation into development CSO platforms in 2000. It was clear that at the time of the enlargement in 2004 not all state and civil society actors were ready to meaningfully engage in development cooperation and humanitarian aid. In terms of future enlargements TRIALOG advocates towards DG Enlargement and the negotiating parties to prepare the countries and societies in order to meaningfully and effectively engage in development cooperation and humanitarian aid as new donors and future EU member states and not to treat this area in the accession process just as a box ticking exercise.
With TRIALOG’s support, most recently in February 2014 the Croatian Development CSO platform CROSOL – Croatian Platform for International Citizens Solidarity – was established. It gathers 25 Croatian CSOs interested and active in global solidarity. To capture TRIALOG’s previous experience in working with civil society in EU accession countries, candidate countries and in the newer EU member states a systematisation outcome document will be published and shared with interested parties in November 2014.
How to engage?
The CONCORD working group on Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood (EPAN) works on the issues concerning EU's neighbouthood and enlargement policies. TRIALOG convened this group until 2012 since its beginnings in 2006 when it took over from the Enlargement Working Group, focusing on the EU’s newest member states before broadening its focus to include the regions with which these members had links – the future members of the EU and the countries immediately to the East and South of the EU’s borders. More information about how to become active within CONCORD can be found on the CONCORD website:www.concordeurope.org or directly here.